60 charged in $300M phone scam targeting elderly victims

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sixty people are charged in a widespread magazine telemarketing scam that authorities say netted $300 million from more than 150,000 elderly and vulnerable people nationwide.

Minnesota U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald announced the charges Wednesday. She called it the largest elder fraud scheme in the country. The defendants are from 14 states and two Canadian provinces.

Court documents say that over the last 20 years, they used a network of fake magazine sales companies and telemarketing call centers to trick people into making large or repeat payments.

Prosecutors say the companies operated in Minnesota, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, California, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Arkansas.